The national news agency for the UK and Ireland has obtained a High Court injunction to stop “fake” press cards being issued in its name to “citizen journalists”.
The PA news agency – established in 1868 as the Press Association – took legal action against the Workers of England Union, which was charging its members £120 for an ID card claiming the holder was a member of “the English Press Association”.
The cards are “instruments of deception” which allowed WEU members to “misrepresent themselves as being affiliated with or employed by PA”, the High Court was told at a remote hearing today
PA’s barrister David Ivison said the WEU’s press cards are “essentially a ‘fake ID’ … which already seem to be sowing confusion among the public”.
He said the WEU was “perfectly at liberty to provide journalism-related services under a name which does not infringe upon the claimant’s rights”, adding: “They simply need to adopt a different name.”
Ivison argued that the WEU’s cards, which had been purchased by 17 of the union’s members, risked causing “serious harm to PA and its reputation”.
He told the court: “The only effective way to address this risk is for the cards to be removed from circulation.”
Robin Tilbrook, the chairman of the WEU who represented the union in court, said the cards were not “intended in any way to hang off the coat-tails, or anything like that, of the Press Association”.
After a short break, Mr Justice Meade was told the WEU had agreed to an interim injunction to not use the words “Press Association” or “English Press Association” in relation to “any trade union, journalism, or news reporting services”.
The WEU also agreed to write to its members who had bought its press cards asking them to return them to the union.
The court heard the WEU is considering using the name “English Media Group” instead.